Elaine Ashcraft Holmes, widow of Robert Evans Holmes, died at home Tuesday morning at 8:57 of a heart attack. Mrs. Holmes was 85 and had been suffering from ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) for the past several months. Mrs. Holmes was born in York, Neb., in 1914. She attended Otterbein College to become a school teacher, and met Robert Holmes. They fell in love and were married and graduated from Otterbein in 1935. She was a singer in many of Robert Holmes' choirs.
They moved to California after World War II, and she taught second grade in the Santa Monica School District and also in Laguna Beach. Mr. Holmes taught vocal music at Hollywood High from 1945 to 1960 and at Beverly Hill High from 1960 to 1975.
Mrs. Holmes retired after 20 years of teaching, and in 1975 they moved to Idyllwild. She was president of the Idyllwild Arts Associates in the late '70s, and she was president of P.E.O., a philanthropic educational organization that raised money for scholarships, from 1986 to 1988.
"Elaine was a great support for Bob," Peggy Holsclaw said. "She had a great sense of humor and she always saw the bright, funny side of everything."
The Holsclaws often traveled to far off places with Elaine and Bob Holmes. "She was so considerate of others. She raised five wonderful children, and she was the glue that made whatever Bob did work," Mrs. Holsclaw said. "We shall all miss her."
Mrs. Holmes is survived by her daughter Judy, sons David, Dwight and Robert Evans II and 10 grandchildren. Mr. and Mrs. Holmes were preceded in death by daughter Jeanne in 1988.
According to Dwight Holmes, there will be a memorial service at the end of July, and the family has asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Robert and Elaine Holmes Memorial Fund, c/o Idyllwild Arts Foundation, P.O. Box 38, Idyllwild, CA 92549.
Donations will be designated for the Holmes Music Library which will be a part of the Max and Bee Krone Memorial Library.